Most helpful positive review
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Meticulously researched and gripping first novel
on 23 July 2012
An absolutely outstanding book which gripped me from the opening sequence, set at the catastrophic battle of the Horns of Hattin in 1187, and the subsequent fall of Jerusalem triggering the third crusade.
The action focuses on the years from then until the events of 1192, the initial pleas for help and the resulting cat and mouse game around Outremer. Much of the novel is revealed through the eyes of the protagonist Geoffrey of Moussiac as he assists the bishop of Tours create a chronicle of those events decades later. These conversations, interspersed the private pain of Geoffrey as he relives in his mind those parts of the tale he does not want to share, are enough to keep anyone on the edge of their seat. With the vignette of another new generation of crusaders dreaming of glory as they listen to the recollections of someone else who was there, I felt totally immersed in the period, and first read the book at a frantic speed.
A subsequent reading repaid my effort handsomely, with Allibone's meticulous research not so much adding to, as creating my knowledge on this under explored period. Every bit as riveting as the machinations of the Tudor court for historical fiction aficionados, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I just hope he writes another!